"Okay, we may not have anti-aircraft missiles or underground lairs, but what we do have is community. We look after each other."
A Close-Knit Community — whether a village, a scattering of country farms, a city neighborhood — is a place where people know their neighbors and look after them.
It is not an ensemble or team — not even one like a traveling circus — because the characters do not have a common purpose except on occasion, and incidentally. Most of the time, they go about their own purposes. Their Leaders
act as leaders only in crisis, and merely as Reasonable Authority Figures
in ordinary time. It also tends to be larger than most True Companions
and other groups — large enough that many residents are only Bit Characters
. While it can range from poor to prosperous, it is seldom if ever rich, and the characters are mostly settled in it, with few moving in or out. The widowed may remain there instead of returning their families because they know they can get help there, and their families would be colder.
They lack the privacy of less close-knit communities, the Gossipy Hens
often get word around, but then, if they don't know what is happening to you, how can they help you? And sometimes their help can feel somewhat restricting. Can't Get Away with Nuthin'
has its unpleasant side.
is always one; even ones that aren't quirky often have a high tolerance for eccentrics, town drunks, and other unusual and/or dysfunctional — but mostly harmless — characters. Arcadia
is also always a Close-Knit Community, if the matter comes up; it is more likely to come up when Arcadia is contrasted to a Vice City
rather than a Deadly Decadent Court
. The Wrong Side of the Tracks
can also be close-knit, in which case it is not the Wretched Hive
, and even holds down the crime rate by their quick action against it. This can even be true in a Vice City
, though it is not common, and the community tends to be poorer and have more crime than other close knit communities, because they can only contain the city to a certain extent; on other hand, they will often need each other's support after crimes. Crystal Spires and Togas
and other ideal cities are more likely to contain neighborhoods of them, than be them, since the characters have to know each other. Common in the towns of The Western
Hidden Elf Village
can also be one. Characters in this community do not have to be welcoming.
However, a Town with a Dark Secret
does not qualify, since all the townsfolk are united in the purpose of keeping their secret, and probably with the activities involved in it — and similiarly with an Uncanny Village
. A Wrong Genre Savvy
protagonist may take one of those for this trope, or this trope for one of those, or the story may have such a fake out.
Because of their mutual support, plots involving the Close Knit Community either
- Imperil the community, so they have to defend themselves, or have The Hero defend them. (He may be an outsider, often brought in because one member acted as a Good Samaritan.)
- Have a youngster not appreciate it. Small Town Boredom or resentment of how the Gossipy Hens see to it that everyone knows everything, and you Can't Get Away with Nuthin' can lead to an escape. Often followed by An Aesop as the youngster learns that Apathetic Citizens are worse, and the value of Home Sweet Home.
- Have an outsider — often one burned out on In Harm's Way — learn the value of community and settle down from his Walking the Earth. Often a subplot of the first, but it is not required.
- As a safe setting for Free-Range Children to have child-sized adventures.
Anime and Manga
- In My Neighbor Totoro, the unnamed community the Kusakabes are moving to at the opening of the film proves to be this. Hardly surprising, since it's located not far from the border of Arcadia and the Ghibli Hills.
- In Maison Ikkoku, the title location is a tiny, aging apartment complex whose rather disfunctional residents manage to fit the description of "a place where people know their neighbors and look after them", though "looking after their neighbors" often amounts to "bring them inside when they pass out drunk".
- In Otoyomegatari, the entire town rallies around, quickly, when Amir's family threatens to take her back by force.
- The setting of Tamako Market is not unlike an American small town's main street, with a close-knit group of family business owners.
- Zekkyou Gakkyuu: An entire apartment complex provides a creepy example in "The Friendly Apartment Complex." Residents all take care of and know each other, the adults tutor all the children, they have a vegetable garden where they get all their food... No one is allowed to leave the building for literally anything, contact the outside world, or even speak to people who don't live in the building. As they say "We have everything we need right here."
- Invoked in the Astro City story "Pastoral", where a City Mouse leaves the city to spend the summer in one of these. While the residents normally tend to themselves, they come together for certain occasions, and serve as the Secret Keeper for the local super hero's civilian identity.
- Kiefer Square in "The Tarnished Angel" is a Vice City version of this trope. The locals are all working-class folks, many of whom get by as B-grade villains or Mooks, but they still have the local Gossipy Hens and street roughs, and don't hesitate to come together when the neighborhood is imperiled.
- In Castle Waiting, the castle. Serving as a refuge for Jain.
- L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables and all its sequels. Anne comments on how all the little old well-meaning ladies visited her before she went to college and their comments, delivered with the sweetness of intentions, made her dread the possibilities.
- Haven from Protector of the Small, by Tamora Pierce.
- District 12 from The Hunger Games - before Katniss volunteers to take her sister's place in the Games, the community deliberately overlooks the fact that Katniss breaks a major rule (imposed by the government nobody likes) every day to poach from the forest because she brings them meat. Despite that Katniss is a little girl, she gets an even trade from the members where possible and nobody exploits her. Her mom, an Apothecary, cares for the sick and injured villagers for no pay. Generally every citizen of District 12 is pretty altruistic and selfless.
- It's mentioned several times throughout the Earth's Children series that residents of any given Cavenote look out for each other for their mutual benefit.
- Miss Marple comes from one, St. Mary Meade, and is occasionally set to work in one of these
- On Discworld, the Chalk. Tiffany Aching at one point describes how everyone did so because they knew her grandmother was watching them.
- The Ramblings in Septimus Heap. Mrs. Beetle stayed there because of it after she was widowed, instead of returning to her family and her late husband's in the Port — the families would not be as much help.
- The Prelapsarians in John C. Wright's Chronicles of Chaos; they will not move against Olympus while Phaetheusa is hostage, because of their respect for her father, even though he holds no formal position.
- In L. M. Montgomery's Jane of Lantern Hill, Jane is struck by the friendliness of PEI. The narrator comments that she didn't realize that she had changed, no longer having her spirit crushed out of her by her grandmother.
- In Wen Spencer's Tinker, Pittsburgh sometimes shows shades of this. In Elfhome, Tinker and Oilcan are deliberately trying to foster it.
- In Robin McKinley's Sunshine, the coffee-house.
- In Patricia C. Wrede's Frontier Magic novel Thirteenth Child, two women are waiting to welcome the family to Mill City, because the mother might have difficulty getting them all fed, given how late their arrival is; the man telling them this assures them that they look out for each other in Mill City.
Table Top Games
- Although Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was primarily an ensemble show, the entire population of the space station may count as this.
- Similarly, Terra Nova, though larger than most such communities, probably counts.
- The Twilight Zone's Maple Street was like this before the monsters were due.
- The Hooverville in the Doctor Who episodes "Daleks in Manhattan" and "Evolution of the Daleks".
- The Waltons
- Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show also came off as one.
- In one episode, a stranger came to town and acted all close knit, which creeped everybody out. Turns out he was planning to move to Maberry and subscribed to the local paper so he knew what everyone was up to.
- Portwenn in Doc Martin is like this, where everyone knows everyone else's business and will always go out of their way to do someone a favour. Whether you want them to or not in fact, something arch-misanthrope Martin absolutely hates.
- Monarch of the Glen
- Little Tall Island from Stephen King's Storm Of The Century. In fact, the villain says that the reason he chose to come to Little Tall was because he knew that they were a close-knit community who could pull together and "do what needs to be done." After the storm, Little Tall arguably moves from this into a Town with a Dark Secret.
- Overton, the famring village '"Glue'' is set in, is very small, with all the inhabitants knowing each other.
- Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls. Hilariously Lampshaded when Paris barges in, trying to write an article for Chilton's school newspaper about the "dark secret" of the town.
- Coronation Street despite the high divorce and disaster rate is this. The shows more idealistic tone means the street is still a community where "folk look out for each other and come together in crisis" even though disaster is a bit more common than some of the other examples.
- Twin Peaks
- Kithkin villages in the Lorwyn setting of Magic: The Gathering are all like this. When the world is warped into its darker variant Shadowmoor, their communal spirit is turned into outright xenophobia.
- Harmonica Town in Harvest Moon Animal Parade is this, probably because it's a very rural setting and the only town on the island.
- For that matter, all of the Rune Factory games have tight knit, small rural towns. Eventually, the player becomes a full member in these towns.
- Really, quite a few Harvest Moon games could qualify. Mineral Town is a shining example, where the townsfolks' relationships with each other are built upon fairly early on. Zephyr Town form Grand Bazaar serves as another example, being extremely tiny, and practically the WHOLE ENTIRE VILLAGE shows up for EVERY festival, as well as pitching in for the town bazaar every week (and attending the results).
- In general most Harvest Moon towns are this.
- Link's hometown could count as this in most of the games, notably The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess.
- In The PJs, Thurgood's building is another "dysfunctional yet functional" example, mainly because it's located inside an economically struggling Vice City.
- In King of the Hill, the fictional town of Arlen, Texas (or at least the Hill's neighborhood). The opening sequence depicts protagonist Hank having his daily can of beer with his True Companions (all of whom apparently live on the same street) in the alley next to the Hill residence.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Ponyville seems to be one of these, judging by Pinkie Pie's claim to know every resident and the degree to which the population volunteers for events like Winter Wrapup.
- Elwood City. The parents in Arthur's class have exchanged contact information.
- Somewhat true of Springfield in The Simpsons. Probably because it seems Everyone Went to School Together. Everyone seems to know everyone else, and most of Springfield attends church together weekly. Subverted in that people can be turned against one another and riot frequently.
- In Lalaloopsy (the TV series) all of the characters know each other well enough that they can walk in to each others' houses (after they knock first) and stay over for the night without a second thought. Food is made or delivered, without payment of any kind, and people are frequently invited for meals. Everyone seems to have an interest in the performance or meeting of the day, as well.
- "A friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep. Welcome to Night Vale." Unlike an Uncanny Village, the inhabitants of Night Vale aren't hiding the various conspiracies, mysteries, and dangers in the town.